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THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court has reprimanded the Punjab government for not delegating powers to substitute officers, when in-charge officers are on leave, for speedy disposal of grievance appeals. The HC has imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 on the government after an applicant moved court for redressal of his appeal that had been pending before an on-leave officer in Mohali. “This court came across many cases where the grievance of the petitioner is rendered unaddressed owing to the non-availability of the officers either on transfer, leave, study leave or under posting,” observed Justice Amit Rawal in his order.
The HC said when an officer goes on leave, the government should ensure that his powers are delegated to a particular officer “so that all such statutory appeals or revision petitions filed under various provisions of local acts are decided and the grievance of the petitioner is addressed”.
The order was given in a civil writ filed by a Fazilka sarpanch, who had approached the financial commissioner, Rural Development and Panchayat Department with an appeal under the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act against his suspension. The judge said, “I impose expenses of Rs 25,000 on the state of Punjab to be paid to the petitioner i.e. regarding cost of litigation and engagement of counsel for approaching this court.”